Along with preserving its legacy of keeping folk traditions in music and arts alive – today it is not a surprise to see techno and trance blend with Rajasthani folk renditions in the desert state of Rajasthan. As the hub of contemporary talent, it has become a home of the some of the hottest music scenes in India and below we explore some music festivals held in the state.
One of India’s newest music events has quickly established a cult following for its eclectic, edgy and substantial music offering. The underlying theme of experimentation across music, art, and cultural exploration is prominent here, and it all happens in a 17th-century palace in Shekhawati, Rajasthan. Expect elaborate sound stages, excellent lighting shows, amazing acoustics, and a line-up of the greatest acts across India and abroad. And of course, there’s Rajasthani folk and percussion blended into techno and other modern music.
Famed for its unforgettable desert venue making it a once-in- a-lifetime experience, the 3 day music, film and photography festival is made even more amazing by camping out in dunes. There are no cabs here – you’ll be using camels as transport. What’s most memorable is dancing under the moonlit desert sky. If that’s still boring, there’s many outdoor activities on the cards. The name might have “Raga”, but the festival offers music from around the world across 3 open stages, Morio (Main Stage), Ammara (Electronic Stage), and Olun (World Music Stage). The previous editions have had a ‘Film Tent’ for open air film screening under a canopy of stars featuring the work and presence of India’s most talented filmmakers An artist zone feature international artists from across the world, and you can try out sculpting, drawing, colouring, graffiti, sand art, pottery, or photography. Bring your own tents to set up your own tiny village here, and enjoy the all the after-parties, restro-bars, camel safaris, and more.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Just on the heels of JLF is the 3 day Desert Festival of Jaisalmer, where the classic, curious and colourful world of Rajasthan comes to life. Camel races, turban tying competitions, moustache contests, and fire dancers, blend with classic and exotic art forms. 42 kilometers from Jaisalmer, the Thar Desert is the perfect backdrop. It all ends with a grand musical finale under the moonlit sky at Sam Dunes. The festival is organised by the Rajasthan tourism department, so you can take help from authorities on site. There’s modern Medical vans, and emergency services at hand. You can even buy souvenirs via credit card – that’s how high tech the festival is!
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Better known as Jodhpur RIFF, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival music and culture extravaganza in Jodhpur, traditionally held at Mehrangarh Fort. Formerly a cultural partnership between Mehrangarh Museum Trust and Jaipur Virasat Foundation, its success made it launch a well deserved independent festival. RIFF is held at venues around Mehrangarh, including the fort which acts as a performance stage to folk artists and international musicians. A single RIFF edition will see hundreds of performers come together to entertain and amuse. This inclusiveness has made it UNESCO’s “People’s Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development”, and today it enjoys status as one of the best international festivals in the world.